Subject: Planes, Trains, wait, did that sign say what I think it just said?
From: Trevor Paquette
Date: Fri, 5 May 2006 10:16:34 -0600
From the CBC link at: http://www.cbc.ca/toronto/story/to-gotransit20060502.html
Risks of an unprotected public electronic sign should be obvious...
GO Transit signs insult PM, CBC News, 2 May 2006
Technicians with GO Transit are working to make its electronic message boards
hacker-proof after the scrolling signs were programmed to read "Stephen Harper
Eats Babies" over and over again. Officials say someone used an inexpensive
remote-control device to tamper with the narrow advertising signs installed in the
system's trains along the Hamilton-Toronto route. The message was seen on
Thursday and Friday, and appeared again on three separate signs on Monday.
Gerry Nicholls, one of the commuters who reported seeing the message, told the
*Toronto Star* he thought he was "hallucinating" when he read it. None of the
other commuters on the packed train seemed to react to it at, he said. As it
happens, Nicholls is vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, the
conservative think-tank formerly headed by the prime minister. "I worked with
Stephen Harper for five years and never once did he, in that time, eat a baby," he
told the newspaper.
Text messages destined for the scrolling signs are transferred from a computer to
hand-held, remote control device that retails for less than $25. GO Transit
employees then move from car to car with the device, transmitting the messages
to the signs. GO Transit officials said they bought the signs six years ago and
they were not password protected. It is the first time someone has hacked into
the system, they said.